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Stocks mixed, turn positive to close week.

Byline: Margot Crabtree

Stocks closed a listless and choppy week on the upswing as investors chewed on trade talks, the economy and the direction of interest rates as the trading week ended Friday.

Although 2018's economic growth as measured by the gross domestic product hit 2.9 percent, the best advance since 2015, fourth-quarter GDP slowed to an annual rate of 2.6 percent. The U.S. Labor Department reported that first-time claims for jobless benefits increased 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 225,000, and figures for the previous week were upped by 1,000. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected claims at 220,000.

The National Association of Realtors reported that its January pending home sales index leaped by 4.6 percent, to 103.2. Also rebounding was February consumer confidence. The Conference Board said that its index jumped to 131.4, from January's 121.7.

"Clearly, the tariffs negotiations are moving in the right direction, as far as the market is concerned, and that's positive," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "The other positive is that the Fed remains on hold ... and they have been telegraphing that they remain patient on interest rate hikes."

The Journal Record Index increased 15.79 points, or 0.92 percent, last week and closed at 1,737.78. However, declining issues outpaced advancing issues by 22 to 8.

Despite a downgrade, Magellan Midstream was the top dollar gainer, adding $2.72, or 4.63 percent. Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating to "neutral" from "buy," and cut its price target to $62, from $65. MMP closed at $61.50.

Blueknight Energy shed 75 cents, or 38.86 percent. Terril Brothers cut its stake in BKEP in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Terril sold 15,000 shares in the recent quarter, cutting its holdings by 26.8 percent. The firm now holds 40,900 shares. BKEP ended at $1.18 and was the top percentage loser.

Chesapeake Energy rose 53 cents, or 20.38 percent, last week. CHK posted net income available to common shareholders of $486 million, or 49 cents per share, compared to last year's $309 million, or 33 cents per share. Adjusted for one-time items, CHK earned 21 cents per share. Revenue was $1.7 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 17 cents per share and revenue of $1 billion. The company said it expects 2019's daily oil production to increase about 32 percent. CHK ended at $3.13 and was the top percentage gainer.

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Publication:Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK)
Date:Mar 4, 2019
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